Takeaways from The Verdict: community discussion on the events of Ferguson, Missouri

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Following the the silent, peaceful and powerful Die-In Protest, students gathered at the Brown-RISD Hillel at 5 pm to vocalize their feelings towards the events of Ferguson, MO.

After seeing a case that has captivated the country’s attention and caused so much student response, the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity hosted the event with one clear purpose: “To provide a background into the events surrounding the verdict of whether to indict Darren Wilson, including the events surrounding the murder of Mike Brown and the climate of Ferguson after these events.” 

While the participants in the discussion expressed their own tear-jerking opinions, the moderators, Ricardo Mullings ‘15.5 and Godwin Tsado ’16, provided a comprehensive, clear guide to the facts of the case and the consequent media coverage. This is what we all should know:

The evidence and Darren Wilson’s testimony.

On August 9th, Michael Brown was jaywalking when Officer Darren Wilson asked him to move to the sidewalk. According to Wilson, when he tried to exit his vehicle to approach Brown, Brown closed the car door before he could get out, which started an altercation. The officer claims that after receiving a blow to the head from Brown, he drew his weapon. Wilson said that he was scared for his life, and that he “felt like a five year old holding onto Hulk Hogan,” in the presence of Brown. He also claims that he was assaulted by Brown, and was diagnosed with a bruise in the mandibular joint area, or the jaw. After the assault, Brown grabbed the weapon, perhaps to intentionally jam it, or maybe to use it on the officer.

The gun itself was never tested for Brown’s prints, only his blood DNA, but either way it resulted in two shots that hit Brown, causing him to flee from the officer. As Wilson pursued Brown, he fired 10 more shots, six of which hit and ended the 18 year old’s life. The autopsy showed that none of the bullets hit Brown in the back, however witnesses say that the officer fired his weapon while Brown was fleeing, which caused the unarmed teenager to turn around, either in surrender or in retaliation depending on who you ask, as he faced six more bullets. Brown’s body was found 153 feet away from the officer’s vehicle.

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